Bates Motel – Season 5, Episode 3: “Bad Blood”

A&E’s Bates Motel
Season 5, Episode 3: “Bad Blood”
Directed by Sarah Boyd
Written by Tom Szentgyorgyi

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Convergence of the Twain” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Hidden” – click here
Pic 1Caleb (Kenny Johnson) is waking up chained to the basement floor after being surprised by Norman (Freddie Highmore), dressed as Norma (Vera Farmiga). He wakes to his sister speaking to him. Only, it’s not, of course. It’s his nephew, dressed as his sister. So awfully creepy. Then there’s whatever Norman plans on doing with his uncle Caleb.
Could be a brutal end for him.
Pic 2And what about Chick (Ryan Hurst)? He knows all the secrets. He’s bore witness to the blonde wig, the odd way Norman sways across the room when he’s in his mother’s clothes/skin. They’ve formed a tenuous bond. I only wonder what Chick is getting out of this, other than maybe a bit of revenge on Caleb along the way. For now, he’s staying at the Bates house to protect Norma/Norman against the nasty uncle downstairs. Hmm. A truly strange situation, all around.
Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell) is being transferred from prison, and he’s another one I wonder about – he has a card up his sleeve. When they make a stop for gas and a bathroom break, he takes his chance and enacts a plan for escape.
At home Norman and his mother keep on coexisting, as best they can. She takes care of him as usual. In their creepy kind of way. He doesn’t remember that Caleb is downstairs, but she does, and she tries keeping him away from the basement. Always trying to control him. But of course Chick is still kicking around, curious about how Norman navigates his fugue state. He reveals he knows about Norma, and another tenuous bond with the other half of Norman is made.
Chick: “Were all in this sideshow together. And then we die.”
Caleb remembers his childhood with Norma, both of them brutalised by a crazy mother. Trying to survive. They had no one but each other, and despite what came later in their lives I can understand why their bond, for a time, was extremely strong. None of it matters now with Caleb chained in that basement and Chick standing guard.

Alex steals a car and then runs it off the road when he’s far enough. He makes his way back home, one mile at a time. In the meantime, Chick sits down to dinner with Norman and Norma, or y’know, one of them at least. He also brings a recorder with him. He offers to help them around the house, just for a sense of being with people after living alone so long. And what a conversation they all have together! Surreal, and crafty on Chick’s part, as well.
Later, Norman receives Madeleine Loomis (Isabelle McNally) at the motel. She clearly feels comfortable with him; bad move. But she’s having troubles with her husband, obviously. And this is a way for Norman to worm his way into her life.
In the basement Caleb hallucinates and thinks he’s hugging Norma, then her corpse. Then Norman, upstairs, finds out his uncle is trapped down there. That he’s spoken to Norma. Further than that Norman continues straddling the line between sane and utterly fucking psychopathic, as he doesn’t even understand his mother is literally dead, not just figuratively and pretending. So he heads down to talk to uncle Caleb, where mother takes over. Then both of them are hallucinating, in their own respects.
Norma: “Im sorry, Norman will probably have to kill you. I cant do it.”
Pic 5Pic 5ATrying to steal another car, Alex gets shot in the gut. What a tough, bloody journey!
Chick is continuing to record his story about the Bates family. He goes looking for a typewriter, to type up his novel. Getting ahead of himself a little on the true crime writing, though. I worry that, mixed up with the Bates’, he’s only going to get burned. Or worse.
And Norma, he had a little quality time with uncle Caleb. While thinking he was his mother. So, there are issues with his understanding: what he knows v. what mother knows. Never clear, at least for him. She wants him to kill Caleb and get this situation cauterised. Although her boy doesn’t think he can do that. Tsk, tsk, Norman – mother knows best. She advises a quick bullet to the temple.
Can he accomplish the task? We know murder’s not exactly out of his wheelhouse. He’s done plenty of heinous things before, just not all of them while fully conscious.
The answer is no – Norman can’t kill his uncle. He runs him out instead. Prompting Norma to take over and fire on Caleb. Inadvertently, Chick plays his part and accidentally runs him over in the road on the way back to the motel. Oh, shit.

Another great chapter in this last season. So many strange things converging, and now Caleb’s seemingly been taken out of the picture. Is he dead? Or just fucked up completely? Either way, Chick and Norma/Norman have their hands full with another likely corpse; at the very least, now a vegetable. Thing is, Chick has as much to lose as Norman, and their tenuous bond becomes more concrete, stuck together with blood.


Solace: Farrell & Hopkins Lift Up Mediocre Supernatural Crime

Solace. 2015. Directed by Afonso Poyart. Screenplay by Sean Bailey & Ted Griffin.
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish, Colin Farrell, Marley Shelton, Janine Turner, Xander Berkeley, Kenny Johnson, Sharon Lawrence, Autumn Dial, Matt Gerald, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Joshua Close, & Angela Kerecz. Eden Rock Media/FilmNation Entertainment/Flynn Picture Company/New Line Cinema/Silver Reel/Supersensory/Venture Forth.
Rated R. 101 minutes.

Apparently this film was originally meant to be a sequel to David Fincher’s fabulous, dark masterpiece of gritty crime cinema, Se7en. However, the angle was to have Detective Somerset return, now having gained psychic powers? Naturally it was a case of Fincher being pissed that sent the producers in another direction, having it rewritten then turned into Solace now as we know it. While that idea of a sequel was terribly misguided, the premise of this film is, of course, different in respect to characters. We’ve still got the psychic element yet it works here, as the way director Afonso Poyart presents the material comes off fairly slick, full of darkness and edgy, as well as smart at times. So the slightly supernatural element takes a backseat to a lot of the human drama and the dark nature of the crimes involved in the story.
This is most certainly not near as good as Fincher’s film. Although, it is definitely worth watching. Not only is there an interesting story and plot to Solace, the acting talents of Anthony Hopkins, Abbie Cornish, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Colin Farrell make everything seem better. In particular, Hopkins adds an air of authenticity to a character I personally might usually find boring, cliche, and he’s one of the reasons I found this movie more compelling than I’d imagined going in. With a few flaws, Solace still proves to be a good crime mystery. It even has a few gritty, rough edges to give it a morbidly interesting shine.
Dr. John Clancy (Anthony Hopkins) is clairvoyant. He sees the pasts of others, as well as some of their future, in bits and pieces. For two years after the tragic death of his daughter John lived in isolation. But when an elusive serial killer named Charles Ambrose (Colin Farrell) challenges the FBI in a cat-and-mouse chase, Agent Joe Merriweather (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) enlist the help of Clancy to try and track him down. Coupled with Agent Katherine Cowles (Abbie Cornish), specializing in psychology, they try to use John’s psychic abilities to their advantage; even if Katherine isn’t a believer right away.
But once John starts to realize Ambrose has powers of premonition as well, and they’re much stronger than his own, the game changes. From one end of the city to another, John and the FBI search to find Ambrose before people continue to die, each crime more gruesome than the last.
The visual style of Solace is one of the major reasons I enjoyed it so much. Not every bit of story, every plot point is going to impress people, but I can assure you the atmospheric quality of many scenes in the film are what will draw your attention. Not only are the lighting and colour scheme successful in making the film look dark, moody, there are several amazing dreamy sequences that blow me away. For instance, Clancy sees his visions and they take on this dream-like tone, which gives the movie flair. Some are like slideshows, similar to how thoughts would pass through a mind. Others, such as when they end up finding a dumpster with evidence in it, are so well edited they take on that dreamy element and whisk us away into the thoughts of Clancy. Then there are the moments where he touches people, their futures flashing in postcard images across his brain; some of those are beautiful, some violent, scary.
The standout portions of Solace, aside from the visuals, the mood and tone, absolutely come from the performances of Colin Farrell and Anthony Hopkins. With Farrell there’s always an intensity he is able to bring, when he wants anyways. Here it is evident, as his character is both dark and charismatic; a terrible human being wrapped in an enigmatic type of man. Just the brooding look of Farrell at times is enough, he can put the screws on fairly easily for this type of character. The other great part is that Hopkins lends an air of authenticity to an otherwise unrealistic character, as well as the fact he and Farrell have an intriguing chemistry between them. The quiet power of Hopkins comes out in nearly every scene where we see him, even a couple points where he’s pretty hilarious, and a moment with Abbie Cornish where he’s actually mean (though for good reason). With Farrell and his darkness, Hopkins provides a nice counterpoint, and there are also further ways these two characters parallel one another. This would’ve been a truly mediocre film if neither of these actors were cast, so thankfully, no matter how you enjoy the plot, we’ve at least got the pleasure of seeing Hopkins and Farrell in this picture. Their absence would’ve made this movie entirely all style with no substance.
This was a 4 star film for me. It could have definitely been tightened up in a few places, in regards to the screenplay. But what Solace lacks in the writing it surely makes up for through its morbid atmosphere, great score and soundtrack, and absolutely in the performances of both Colin Farrell and Anthony Hopkins (wait until the end when you see the latter’s character deepen right before the finish). This totally surprised me, as I’d been preparing myself for a bad movie with some great acting talent in it. Give this the time of day it deserves. Don’t try and look for another Se7en. You won’t find it. Solace is its own film and within you’ll discover a couple treasures and treats along the way – perhaps you’ll even come across some ruminations on life, death, love, and euthanasia. Or maybe not. You be the judge.